Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Updates & Making Medical Info Sheets! :-)

Hey all!  Well I'm nearing the end of my pregnancy (due date at the end of the month!) and have started my maternity leave early to rest up.  Not working 10-12 hours a day has been amazing--I think I slept my way through the first few days at home because I was absolutely exhausted.  Now after several nights of a good 8-10 hours of sleep nightly (of course interrupted by the usual late pregnancy up and arounds), I'm starting to feel human.  Maybe even ready for motherhood!  At least ready enough :-)  Its been just what the doctor ordered!

This also means that I have time to do some writing on the blog!!  Hooray!  I've missed you guys and missed the pleasure I get from writing and cooking regularly.  I don't know how long this honeymoon phase of a break is going to last but I'll post as often as I'm able :-)

I've been working on updating my "Medical Info Sheet" to take to the hospital with me when I am in labor and it has reminded me how important it is for each and every one of us to have one of these!  

What is a Medical Info Sheet you ask?  Well do you all remember that series of posts I did last year on how to get the best hospital experience?  I had a lot of great feedback from you all that it was really helpful to best understand how to optimize medical care in the hospital so I will definitely re-post the series for new readers.  One of the posts was on how to make your OWN Medical Info Sheet.

Basically, a Medical Info Sheet is a short, legible one pager that sums up all your past medical history, what meds you take and why, what your allergies are and who your doctors are.  It is a highly awesome tool to have at finger tips in case of emergency or frankly, for any doctor's appointment to make sure their records are appropriately up-to-date!  It cuts down on the questions that they need to ask you when you arrive in an emergency and MOST IMPORTANTLY, it will help make sure you get EXCELLENT care from your medical providers.

Mine looks like this--super simple, super easy

Name & DOB
Husband's name:

medication & reaction

name, dose, frequency, reason for taking

name, dose, frequency, reason for taking

Past Medical History
diagnosis, date, current status

Past Surgical History
surgery, date

Family History:  Maternal & Paternal

Doctors:  PCP, OB, etc (this is actually on my Birth Plan document but it should go on the Med Info Sheet for non-birthing people!)

I want to encourage every one of you to sit down at your computer tonight and quickly type this up and print it out  (or write it out LEGIBLY and make copies).  It takes almost no time to type up the skeleton of it and then you can update it over time.  If you have a complicated medical history than follow my suggestions below.  If you have a loved one who may manage your own care than give them a copy too (i.e.--younger patients give to their parents, older patients give to their children, married/committed folks give your spouses, etc).

Do you think you can do this?!  Let me know in the comments section below if you have questions and of course, always ask your doctor for any specifics!

Here is the original post I wrote last year on how to make these sheets!  There are a few more specifics...enjoy! :-)  

********Published November 21, 2011**********

Tip #4:  Key Things to Know About Yourself: (I say "your" but this could apply to any of your family members)

Ok so today I'm going to talk about PREPARATION!  This is something REALLY important that you can do to immediately improve the level of care you receive from the moment you walk into the hospital!  

We health care providers LOVE organized patients because your organization allows us to quickly get a full clinical picture of you--therefore giving us the opportunity to treat you more effectively & efficiently. 

The other reason we LOVE having an organized, prepared patients is because it is very obvious from the beginning that you are OUR TEAMMATE!  By preparing your medical info sheet you indicate to us immediately that you are NOT a passive participant in your health care!  You are actively trying to understand what is going on in your body.  This bodes well for both your recovery & your survival of serious illness!

So here we go...

First, make a clearly written/typed sheet with your NAME & DATE OF BIRTH on it with all the following data:


1)  Know your medications & keep them with you at ALL times on that clearly written/typed list:  
  •  names 
  • doses 
  • frequency 
  • when/why each one was started 
    • (i.e. I take Metoprolol 50mg twice daily.  Started in 1996 for High Blood Pressure) 
  • Include EVERY vitamin as well & things like Birth Control Pills & Metamucil, etc.  
  • If you don't know the answers to these questions, call your primary care doctor to clarify and/or have them "proof" your list.  
    • I like the idea of putting it folded up in a tiny ziploc bag in your wallet.)
2)  Know Your Allergies--
  • including 
    • medications, 
    • foods, 
    • materials like latex
  • for EACH one write what the allergy looks like (what happens when you take it)
    •  (i.e. Penicillin:  Rash & trouble breathing, discovered in 1989)  
3)  Know Your Past Medical History: Including:
  • current medical conditions that your doctor is treating you for 
  • surgeries & 
  • past hospitalizations WITH dates!  
  • if you are a cancer patient or have a history of cancer, write out what treatment you received or are receiving & when 
    • i.e. I have breast cancer.  I have had a mastectomy, finished 3 cycles of chemotherapy & am now on the 2nd week of radiation therapy
4)  Your Immunization History:  Every nurse you meet will ask you about this--just bring it with you WRITTEN DOWN ON THE MEDICAL INFO SHEET with the dates you got the shots.

5)  Who your doctors are:  ON THE MEDICAL INFO SHEET list:

  • The name & number of your primary care doctor
  • The name & number of ANY specialist you are currently seeing & **why you see them**
6)  MOST IMPORTANTLY: Your advanced directive telling us what to do if you get sick enough that you can't make your own decisions & you require things like life support, resuscitation etc.)  PUT THIS IN THE SAME LOCATION AS YOUR INFO SHEET ABOVE AND TAKE IT WITH YOU EVERYWHERE!!
  • EVERYONE needs one of these, and I mean EVERYONE
  • This will be one of the first questions you are asked--the admitting department usually asks it at first actually!
  • I don't care if you are 22 and in perfect health (there are always the risk of car accidents, etc) or if you are 95 and ill with a myriad of chronic illnesses:  YOU NEED ONE
  • I'm not sure of the legality of everything but at a minimum you should have your wishes written down with copies to all the key family members.  
  • If you want it to be legally binding you need to consult a lawyer (I am NOT one).  A power of attorney is a good idea too.
  • I'll write more about this in one of my Tuesday "Medical System" Posts
ONE LAST POINT:   **if you are a caregiver of a family member or a spouse/daughter/son/mother/father than make sure you have every one of your family member's info sheets that you are responsible for.  If the patient is not able to speak for themselves, the medical team will turn to you.***  (The last thing you want is to be running over to their house to pick up their medications--usually by then the initial admitting orders will be in & the patient will be in their room on different meds!!)
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Monday, October 22, 2012

MONDAY MEDITATIONS FOR HEALING: Patience & A Commitment to Self for Caregivers

Happy Monday!
Here is today's meditation on patience to inspire your spirit to self-healing this week! Have a WONDERFUL week!

Today's Quote 

"Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties and obstacles vanish."

~John Quincy Adams

A Commitment to Self for Caregivers 
(whether you are a healthcare provider or a family member caring for a loved one): 

One of the greatest challenges in life is letting go to allow things to happen in their own time.  

It seems much easier to try to orchestrate things to best suit our needs at the time.  But we often forget that by attempting to control the result, we miss out on the magical solution.  The solution that usually solves the difficulties and obstacles in a powerful, positive way that we could not have dreamed on our own.  The solution that comes with patience.  

This week I will choose to let go of controlling people and events.  

I will take a deep breath and stop whenever I feel like rushing in to change things "my" way.  

I will practice patience with a gentle heart and marvel at the outcomes created without my interference.
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